Skip to main content
Thrive On

Fresenius Social Worker Receives Robert W. Whitlock Achievement Award

National Kidney Foundation’s Council of Nephrology Social Workers Recognizes Stephanie Johnstone’s Outstanding Achievements in Dialysis Patient Care

WALTHAM, Mass. – April 24, 2014 –  Fresenius Medical Care North America (FMCNA), the nation’s leading network of dialysis facilities, announced today that Stephanie Johnstone, FMCNA West Division lead social worker, has received the annual Robert W. Whitlock Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Kidney Foundation’s (NKF’s) Council of Nephrology Social Workers.

Johnstone, who is based in San Diego, received the award on April 23 at the NKF’s 2014 Spring Clinical Meetings in Las Vegas. The award recognizes the profound impact that Johnstone has had on the field of nephrology social work through programs, publications and teachings, and mentoring colleagues.

During her more than three decades at FMCNA, she has developed numerous innovative programs designed to improve care for kidney patients. She has also inspired and mentored her colleagues to advance the field of nephrology social work toward disease management.

“Throughout her career, Stephanie has displayed that rare combination of exceptional skill in engaging with both patients and colleagues, and a visionary thinking style,” said Carolyn Latham, FMCNA’s corporate vice president of clinical services. “With our Social Work Intensive program, she empowered nephrology social workers to use their clinical skills and training to improve patients’ quality of life, while also helping her peers achieve their professional potential and increase their career satisfaction.”

This is the second major award for Johnstone in two years.  In 2013, Modern Healthcare magazine honored her and FMCNA with its "Spirit of Excellence" award for launching a company-wide initiative to reduce the number of patients who miss or shorten their dialysis treatments. The program significantly improved adherence to prescribed dialysis treatments by having social workers intervene with struggling patients to address their depression and other quality-of-life issues.

“I am both honored and humbled to receive the Robert W. Whitlock Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Johnstone. “Obviously, it takes a dedicated team to continuously and steadily improve the quality of life of those with kidney disease, and I owe much of my success to the commitment and hard work of so many of my colleagues.”

In addition to her work at FMCNA, Johnstone has been a research consultant on nephrology studies evaluating strategies for treating depression and improving quality of life for dialysis patients. She also designed an NKF intervention campaign to enhance dialysis adherence, which was released nationally as “Living Longer, Living Better.”

Johnstone has been active with the NKF’s Council of Nephrology Social Workers (CNSW) by serving on the editorial board of the Journal of Nephrology Social Work, and as chair of the San Diego CNSW chapter. She is the co-developer of the CNSW’s Outcomes Training Program, and has twice been honored nationally by the council for outstanding achievements. She also has published studies in in numerous professional journals and presented nationally on topics such as depression, conflict management and improving adherence to treatment and quality of life.


About Fresenius Medical Care North America

Through its leading network of more than 2,150 dialysis facilities in North America and vascular access centers, laboratory, pharmacy and affiliated hospitals and nephrology practices, Fresenius Medical Care provides renal services to hundreds of thousands of people throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada. It is also the continent’s top producer of dialysis equipment, dialyzers and related disposable products and a major supplier of renal pharmaceuticals.

For more information about the company, visit

About the National Kidney Foundation

The National Kidney Foundation is the leading organization in the U.S. dedicated to the awareness, prevention and treatment of kidney disease for hundreds of thousands of healthcare professionals, millions of patients and their families, and tens of millions of Americans at risk. For more information, visit